Charlotte Mecklenburg Police reported a 143% increase in auto thefts, the largest in CMPD history, year over year at the CMPD’s mid-year crime report on Wednesday, July 12. *
Police say the uptick in auto thefts is related to a viral Tik Tok and social media challenge that teaches people how to steal certain models of Kia and Hyundai cars using only a screwdriver and a USB cable. The increase in auto thefts due to the viral social media challenge is something law enforcement agencies across the nation are experiencing.
“From January 1st through June 30th, 3,717 people have had their car stolen,” CMPD Major Jonathan Thomas said. “That’s 3,717 people that have been put in situations where they could not get to work, or drive their kids to school, or go to the grocery store. This is happening all over the city with our central division having the largest increase at 237%.”
Police say the auto theft suspect often escalates the auto theft into other crimes, like burglaries.
To combat the increase in auto thefts, CMPD has passed out more than 2,000 steering wheel locks in the last year. This blog will discuss other ways you can protect yourself, your property, and your vehicles from being stolen.
Six Ways to Prevent Your Car from Being Stolen
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than a million cars were stolen in 2022 nationwide. That’s a 7 percent increase from 2021 and a 25% increase from 2019.**
Auto thefts can happen at any time, anywhere. But did you know that New Year’s Day is one of the most common days of the year to have a car stolen? No matter what time of year it is, its important to take every safety measure possible to prevent your car from being stolen or broken into. Here are seven ways you can prevent auto thefts and break-ins.
- Always Lock Your Doors
- Park in Well-Lit Areas
- Install a Steering Wheel Lock
- Install CPI Drive
- Install a Home Security System
- Make Sure Your Auto Policy is Up to Date
Always Lock Your Car Doors
While you may be concerned about your car being stolen, a lot of times thieves are just trying to break into your vehicle to get valuables. So, the best way to prevent a car theft or car break-in is to always lock your doors. It doesn’t matter if you live in a rural or “safe” area, you should never leave the windows rolled down, doors unlocked, and keys or spare keys near your vehicle. Thieves often look for a crime of opportunity, so don’t make it easy for them.
Additionally, don’t leave any valuables in your car. Make sure phone charging cables are put away. And for legal gun owners, never leave a weapon in your vehicle, especially overnight.
Park in Well-Lit Areas
Keep in mind that car thefts don’t just happen at home. If you’re parked in a public parking lot to go shopping, out to eat, or somewhere else for a long period of time, be cognizant of where you park. Make sure to park in well-lit areas, near other people and vehicles. This way, thieves are less likely to target your car. They often look for cars in discreet, dark places so they can get away with stealing without being seen. If you’re concerned about walking to your car at nighttime, consider asking a security guard or a coworker to walk you to your car safely.
Install a Steering Wheel Lock
Modern vehicles come with several anti-theft features, like ignition locks to alarm systems and immobilizers. Installing a steering wheel lock is another safety measure you can take in addition to what already comes with your vehicle.
Some work by attaching a long arm to the steering wheel, which makes it difficult or impossible to turn the wheel. Others loop around the steering wheel and brake pedal, immobilizing the vehicle.
Install CPI Drive
Car trackers can help you keep a closer watch on your vehicle, such as CPI Drive. Integrated with your smart home security system, CPI Drive will alert you to important information about your vehicle, such as speeding, breaking, diagnostic issues, fuel level, etc. This is great for keeping track of new or experienced drivers. However, it can also be a good way to know if your car is stolen or towed. You’ll get a notification whenever your car moves, even if the engine is off. You can also track your car’s location, which is helpful in the event it is stolen.
Install a Home Security System
You can’t keep watch on your car 24/7, but your security system can. If you have a garage, we recommend parking inside whenever you can. But if you must park on the driveway or the street, it’s helpful to have a home security system with video surveillance installed. CPI Security’s outdoor camera featuring Perimeter Alert will send you video clips in real time whenever a person is detected on your property. With Perimeter Alert, you could scare off a car thief before they get too close. See how Perimeter Alert has already scared off bad actors in the video below.
Make Sure Your Auto Insurance Policy is Up to Date
If your car is stolen, contact the police immediately. You’ll eventually have to file a claim with your auto insurance company. So, it’s important that your policy is always up to date.
With property crimes, including car thefts, on the rise across the country, it’s important to keep in mind these seven ways to prevent your car from being stolen. If you, unfortunately, fall victim to a car theft, what should you do? Check out our blog to find out the steps you should take. And if you’re ready to install a home security system integrated with CPI Drive, contact a home security professional today.
** Forbes Home, Best Steering Wheel Locks for 2023